Lawrence A. Solberg Jr., MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine, Department of Hematology/Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL
Chair, ASH Committee on Practice
There are many challenges facing hematology practices today, and it is difficult to keep up with the continuously evolving environment as health reform unfolds, limits on reimbursement continue to grow, and new policies are implemented. As physicians navigate through this challenging era, the ASH Committee on Practice is constantly strategizing about ways to improve reimbursement for hematologists, quality of care for hematology patients, and resources for hematology practices. ASH continues to build programs and resources designed to help guide practicing members through the current health-care climate. Below are some of those programs and resources described in more detail.
Throughout the fall, ASH is presenting a series of three webinars on thrombosis treatment issues confronted frequently by practicing hematologists. Two of the three webinars have already taken place: Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia (HIT) and Coagulation Management in Cancer. The third, Non-Hemophilia-Associated Conditions Associated With Bleeding, is scheduled for Wednesday, November 17. These webinars feature presentations by experts in the field and cover the most current information on how to best diagnose and care for patients with these conditions. The Society plans to make podcasts of the webinars available on the ASH website.
For the past few years, ASH has published pocket-sized quick reference guides for clinicians. Go to www.hematology.org/Practice/Guidelines/2934.aspx to download copies of the pocket guides on HIT and von Willebrand disease. The Society will post updates to the guidelines on the use of epoetin and darbepoetin and on the diagnosis and management of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) once they are published in Blood.
The Committee on Practice will be hosting a program for practitioners during the upcoming ASH annual meeting; this year’s Practice Forum is titled “Innovation and Best Practices for Survival of the Hematology Practice.” Scheduled on Saturday, December 4, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in Signature I of the Rosen Centre Hotel, the forum will address best strategies that will help hematology practices survive the extraordinary challenges facing the specialty. Also, make sure to join your colleagues directly after the forum at the special reception for practitioners in Signature II of the Rosen Centre. The Committee also has developed a new program for practitioners at this year’s annual meeting called “Practice Makes Perfect.” Modeled after the Meet-the-Expert sessions, these ticketed lunch-time sessions will include discussions about Pay for Performance and the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI), New Models for Payment: Pathways and Insurers, and Maintenance of Certification: What Is It Like to Go Through the Maintenance of Certification? Tickets will be limited and only available on site at the annual meeting on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets can be purchased at any registration counter in Hall C of the Orange County Convention Center beginning Thursday, December 2, during registration hours until all tickets are sold.
In another effort to promote the expertise and represent the interests of practicing hematologists, the Society recently launched the pilot of a new initiative titled “The Practice Partnership for Clinical Practice in Hematology” to engage more community-based hematologists. This group is made up of practicing hematologists from across the nation who will assist ASH in its broad initiative to recruit and retain hematologists and also serve as a readily available, geographically diverse panel for timely feedback to ASH committees or staff about issues affecting the practice of hematology. The group will assist ASH in developing, evaluating, and executing novel programs or applied research, such as comparative effectiveness research, aimed at understanding or improving the quality of hematology care for patients, and facilitate communication regarding coverage determinations and financial issues affecting patients and hematologists.
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